I was outside talking to my friend Elizabeth yesterday evening, about 6:45 Central, when, all of a sudden, an enormous fireball appeared in the sky behind her. “Whoa! Is that a comet?!” I asked. “I hope it’s not a burning airplane,” she replied. Although I had my phone with me, I did not have the presence of mind to take a picture.
Evidently what Elizabeth and I saw was a fireball, a meteor “brighter than the planet Venus,” according to the American Meteor Society website, who listed the object as event #2158 for 2013. It was seen by people not just in Sewanee, but all across the South and Midwest.
It was beautiful. Life affirming. I feel very small, wrote someone from Birmingham, Alabama on the AMS page, while another person from Glasgow, Kentucky thought it was scary and beautiful, lasted longer than i thought it would. A witness from Duluth, Georgia, claimed, Most impressive meteor I’ve seen in my 36 years.
But there were others who were unsettled by the fireball. According to the blog End Times Headlines (whose mission “is to inform our readers and viewers of Prophetic Events and how they are unfolding before our very eyes thru News and Headlines presented from a Prophetic Prospective in light of the Holy Bible”), the fireball represented a “sign in the heavens,” and at least one person commenting on their Facebook page claimed, “he worald will be destored by fire and i beleive this is just a warning to alll to repent and fall face down and pray.”
Personally, I did not feel especially small, nor was I inclined to fall forward and pray. It was an astounding event, however, and I made my way home with a genuine sense of wonder.
Postscript. Here’s a video from Alabama on Youtube of the fireball: